There’s been some fuss lately about just how good new Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud is. Some supporters are already growing impatient with the 25-year-old French striker after just three league games and are comparing him to Marouane Chamakh, who is generally considered to be a flop by the majority of Gunners fans.
However, whatever Arsenal fans feel about Giroud, they haven’t voiced their displeasure with him like French international supporters have. Of course, one of the headlines going around the world on Sept. 12 was regarding the booing of Giroud by French fans when he was substituted in France’s 3-1 home win against Belarus the day before in a World Cup qualifier.
Giroud’s a big boy and those who pay for tickets to football games have the right to boo if they like. He doesn’t need protecting from them, but it might just give him the kick up the backside he apparently needs. Giroud said he’s been freezing up in front of the goal when he’s had chances to score this season and just needs to relax a little more. He admits that it’s been happening for both Arsenal and France.
He may not be one of the world’s greatest or most natural goalscorers, but he’s probably better than average as his 21 goals for French club Montpellier last season in 36 games would indicate. He helped the Ligue 1 club win the title last season, but might find that playing in the English Premier League could be a little more difficult. The goalkeepers and defenders are considered to be a step up in England when compared to the French League, but so are the rest of the players, such as Giroud’s Arsenal teammates and that means he may be getting more chances to score this year.
Both of Arsenal’s other top summer signings, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have opened their scoring accounts in the new season and the pressure may be building up on Giroud to do the same. I don’t buy the argument about adjusting to a new league as an excuse. Football is football no matter where you play the game, especially if you’re an international.
It’s hard to judge Giroud on just three league games and at least he’s getting chances and working his way into the right positions on the pitch. If he had been invisible over the first few matches then there could be some cause for concern. There have been a lot better players than Giroud who have gone through scoring slumps for Arsenal and other teams. There would likely be more pressure on him if Arsenal didn’t come away with three points from Anfield in their last match though.
Manager Arsene Wenger paid just over £9.6 million for the French forward, which isn’t overly exorbitant in this era of ridiculous transfer fees. I just hope Giroud wasn’t bought solely due to his performance last season. Players need to be properly scouted before a bid is put on them. There have been too many instances over the years in football where players have enjoyed one good season or even just one good tournament and managers have fallen all over themselves trying to acquire their services.
This is why some managers prefer to buy players who have proven themselves in the Premier League rather than those who have done well overseas. We don’t know yet if Giroud is worth the money paid for him or how he will help this Arsenal club for at least a few more months. If he’s not scoring goals he has to be contributing to the cause in other ways. This includes setting up teammates, finding open space, and distracting opposing defenders.
While the 6-foot-4-inch striker has just one goal in 11 matches for France, he has scored at a good rate for his clubs teams with 93 goals in 218 games. He’s also set up his teammates on 22 occasions. Giroud may be struggling at the moment, but could turn out to be a gem once he finds the back of the net for the first time. Then again, he could be a complete bust. However, at the moment it’s simply too early to tell.